After 6 months of development you can finally download Ubuntu 16.10, the latest stable release of the world’s most popular desktop Linux distribution.

But what is new and improved?

Well, we’ll get to that in a second. Chances are you’re itching to start your Ubuntu 16.10 download already, so scroll on down to find all the relevant links you need, and then we’ll meet you back here.

Ready? Let’s go…

What’s New in Ubuntu 16.10?

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Ubuntu 16.10 is not a big update over Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, released back in April. If you were hoping it’d be a compelling or must-have upgrade you’ll be sadly disappointed.

But that doesn’t mean it’s worth skipping.

There are a number of small improvements to the Unity desktop and the Compiz window manager that powers it. Improvements that help everything work that little bit faster, and that little bit smoother. Valuable, if hardly revolutionary, changes.

Ubuntu 16.10 also performs better in virtual machines thanks to the new Unity Low Graphics Mode (which is also being back-ported to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS).

An all-new version of the Nautilus file manager also features, and is packed with some significant UI and UX differences. Plus, as always, there’s a newer Linux kernel to enjoy.

A Larger .ISO Image

The Ubuntu 16.10 installation image (.iso) is a little larger than it used to be, up from 1.4GB in April to 1.5GB today. Why the increase? Don’t get excited as it’s not to accommodate some extra apps.

No, the size bump is to allow more language packs to ship on the disc. These add a couple hundred MB to the iso size but help speed up installation as locale-specific language packs don’t need to be downloaded “on-demand”.

The downside: Ubuntu takes a little bit longer to download than before.

Unity 7.5

Unity 7.5 features minor bug fixes, systemd units for the shell and related services, and an improved low graphics mode that helps make the desktop run quicker in virtual machines. It also improves the behaviour of maximised windows, and the look of the Dash when the Unity Launcher is moved to the bottom of the screen.

Nautilus 3.20

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS ships with Nautilus 3.14. Ubuntu 16.10 ships with Nautilus 3.20, which gives Ubuntu users access to many of the improvements GNOME users have benefited from over the past few years.

There’s a built-in file transfer progress widget (no more floating dialog that gets in the way), improvements to the UI for switching and setting icon zoom and icon order, and pop-over bubbles when renaming files.

Unity 8 Preview Session

A Unity 8 preview session is available in Ubuntu 16.10 and gives you a sneak peek at the next-generation converged Ubuntu desktop.

But don’t get too excited. The Unity 8 desktop session is suitable for basic tasks, like web browsing, but, er, not much else.

For more about the Unity 8 desktop session read our ‘Hands on with Unity 8 in Ubuntu 16.10‘ article, which is stuffed full of screenshots and includes a short video demo.

New Wallpaper

There’s an all-new Ubuntu 16.10 default wallpaper design to squint at:

ubuntu 16.10 default wallpaper

Updated Apps

Ubuntu’s core applications have been updated in this Ubuntu 16.10 release. Among them is the latest stable release of Mozilla’s Firefox and the Mozilla Thunderbird e-mail client, along with new versions of other key apps like LibreOffice, Rhythmbox music player and the Eye of GNOME image viewer.

The new Ubuntu Software app, which made its first appearance in April’s Ubuntu 16.04 release, also sees improvement. The store is better able to handle the installation and management of Snap packages, and now displays fonts, CLI apps, libraries and other system cruft alongside regular “GUI” apps.

The Ubuntu Software app is also significantly faster in use. This solves a real pet peeve of mine on the incumbent LTS desktop. Thankfully, Yakkety makes it quicker to find, browser, search and install applications.

Key app updates:

Linux Kernel 4.8

tux2Ubuntu has the Linux kernel 4.8 chugging away under its hood.

The Linux kernel 4.8 features numerable improvements to system stability, performance, power efficiency, and file system handling, including:

  • Support for overclocking AMD graphic cards
  • Initial NVIDIA Pascal support in Nouveau driver
  • Raspberry Pi 3 SoC support
  • ACPI Low-Power Idle support
  • Support for the Microsoft Surface 3 touch screen
  • Wider range of audio device, USB and webcam drivers

All Yak, No Trousers

‘Only 45% of readers say they plan to upgrade — Ubuntu 16.10 is not a compelling upgrade.’

Ubuntu 16.10 is not a must-have upgrade — not for most people.

Over 9,000 readers have voted in our recent poll, which asks if they intend to upgrade. 45% say they did plan to upgrade to Ubuntu 16.10, while 34% said they do not, and will stick with an older version or a different distribution.

Compare that to April, when we asked the same question about Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and you’ll see a huge difference. Then, 94% said they planned to upgrade.

The truncated support period of 9 months and a batch of minor improvements to the rest of the desktop do not a compelling upgrade make.

Yakkety is certainly a fine release, but it’s far from a defining one.

Ubuntu 16.10 Yakkety Yak in summary:

  • Unity desktop bug fixes
  • 14 new wallpapers
  • Linux Kernel 4.8
  • New features in file manager
  • Updated apps, inc. LibreOffice 5.2
  • See changelogs for PPAs
  • HiDPI improvements
  • Unity 8 Preview Session

Download Ubuntu 16.10 Right Now

You can download Ubuntu 16.10 .iso for 32-bit and 64-bit hardware using the links below.

Remember: you don’t have to do a fresh install to get the latest version. You can upgrade Ubuntu 16.04 to Ubuntu 16.10 using the Update Manager app.

Download Ubuntu 16.10 Desktop

You can also download Ubuntu 16.10 using torrents.

You’ll probably find that the torrent versions download much faster if the main release servers are under strain (which on release day they usually are). Keep in mind that torrents also help speed up other people’s downloads, so if you’re on a data cap or restricted connection, be aware!

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